Joint Capability Technology Demonstrations (JCTD) are meant to develop, demonstrate and transition emerging technologies and prototypes to meet our Warfighter’s needs by accelerating acquisition and fielding decision capability in two to four years.
In the past, commanders lacked the capability to assure continued logistics agility and freedom of maneuver for U.S. forces. They required a capability to rapidly repair degraded port facilities to a minimum level of military usefulness.
The solution was the development of Port Improvement via Exigent Repair (PIER) and, through JCTD, a comprehensive approach could be made to counterpoint current methods that call for comparatively lengthy contracting, design-building, and expensive construction. This would mean long-lasting upgrades to existing facilities.
From July 2016 through August 2019, U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Ground Vehicle Systems Center Force Projection-Bridging, provided the System Design and Project Leadership for Spiral 3 (Superstructure Repair-PODS) of a four spiral effort for the Port Improvement via Exigent Repair (PIER) Joint Capability Technology Demonstration (JCTD). The final operational utility assessment (OUA) at Naval Weapons Station Earle was a culminating event that brought all four spirals together.
“In late August, U.S Army Soldier and Sailors demonstrated the technologies of all four spirals in a compressed window,” said Ashley Genna, GVSC Force Projection Technology Lead Engineer. “The Navy is scheduled to take ownership of the PODS system in fiscal year 2020 and will be working on transition partnerships for the system.”
The first kit, pile jacketing, completed successful Spiral 1 Technical Demonstration with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at the Engineer Research and Development Center in Vicksburg, Miss., in Oct. 2016. A Spiral 1 Limited Operational Utility Assessment (LOUA) was conducted at Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam in Honolulu, Hawaii, in Feb. 2017. The pile jacketing capability delivered pile capacity restoration and expeditionary value.
The Mechanical Structure Bracing/Reinforcement kit, the second of the PIER JCTD capabilities, delivers pile splicing, bracing, bridging, banding, and cap repair. A Spiral 2 Technical Demonstration was conducted with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at the Engineer Research and Development Center in Vicksburg, Miss. The LOUA for Spiral 2 was also conducted at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek – Fort Story in Norfolk, Va., in May 2018.
The PIER Over-decking System (PODS) provides a modular in-stride PIER repair capability needed for ship to shore logistics that provides a roadway across the top of structurally inadequate pier sections facilitating vehicular and supply offload. U.S. Army Combat Capability Development Center Ground Vehicle Systems Center hosted the Spiral 3 Technical Demonstration at Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Harrison Township, Mich., in Aug. 2019. A Limited Operational Demonstration (LOD) was also conducted at Naval Weapons Station Earle in Colts Neck, N.J., in May 2019.
The Mooring, Fendering, and Fuel Discharge capabilities were developed and demonstrated by Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) to expediently repair and reinforce technologies to provide required LMSR berthing and mooring requirement and the integration of fuel distribution systems. A Technical Demonstration was conducted at the Engineer Research and Development Center in Vicksburg, Miss., in Sept. 2017. A Limited Operational Utility Assessment was also conducted at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek – Fort Story in Norfolk, Va., in May 2018. Rapid expeditionary mooring approaches for concrete and timber piers and a means to address damaged fender piles were demonstrated, while providing appropriate staging areas for fuel discharge.
“Leveraging the proven system of PODS, the components of PODS/RAIL [Rapidly Available Interface via trans-Loading] provides a solution for the requirement for expeditionary railhead operations,” said Genna. “Rail movement of deploying forces, particularly in forward areas, is constrained by the limited availability of railhead facilities. RAIL will expand rail on- and off-loading options for deploying forces by augmenting existing trans-loading points with additional capability to increase throughput for training and mission related deployments.”
RAIL supports Force Application by providing on-demand, expedient, and unanticipated rail trans-load points at virtually any location within austere environments, enabling multiple and dispersed options for expeditionary maneuver of combat and tactical units and their logistics trains in response to Anti-Access Aerial Denial threats. This technology suite will participate in Joint Warfighter Assessment (JWA) Defender 2020 in FY20 outside the continental United States. Following that assessment, European Command (EUCOM) and Pacific Command (PACOM) will decide if they will request production units.